First of all, you already know I am no professional when it comes to diggin’ my camera out and taking a few pictures, but I do want to pass on some tips on getting a better memory for you with a better picture that’ll bring back pictures for many years, and with the added bonus of letting someone else share in your memories. My intent for today is to refresh your memory on things you might have forgotten, or pick up a hint you somehow missed before.
Before you get into all of this, make that you have a good mental image of what you’re gonna shoot. Thinking about an animal picture but not sure of what to get? Consider this — Do you really think this young lady will pose for you with a big mouth full of dinner? You have to wait her out, but be ready to get the shot according to her time table, not yours. Pictures like this are on her terms, not yours.
This is where high tension patience comes in and then it might not work. You’ll be just a wee bit late or early, depending — Now what? Well, my advice would be to take as many pictures as it takes – 10, maybe 20, but get lots of shots and for those special memories, pick the best – dump the rest.
Quick Access to the camera has to be essential. Personally, I would say to just carry it around your neck or even better – in your hand, turned on and be ready. After all, what else do you have to do right at this minute – mow the lawn? You can’t do two things at once, remember? Besides, that’s Gretchen’s job.
Be sure to check on your camera. First thing is to check the battery. No battery, no reason to even start. Make sure it’s fully charged.
Clean the lens. Make sure it is free of lint and no finger prints or other whatever’s. I have a friend that always just pulls up the tee shirt and gives the lens a couple wipes. Something doesn’t come off, he just puts his tongue on the tee to get a wet spot, and wipes away. I think it’s a very poor solution to the cleaning problem. Besides, you’re inviting damage to the lens, maybe not this time, but it will come. Oh yes, don’t forget that the back viewing screen is also clean and set to help you see more of what the picture will be.
I don’t like to bring this up, but I’ve done it myself – make sure the camera lens cap is off and out of the way. When you shooting, check to make sure you don’t have a finger or thumb in the screen either. When we had the little flat camera, we had some very good shots of a finger.
Look into the settings, such as have the date if you want that, is it on auto or manual, and if manual, is that what you want – really? Once you have the picture, you can’t go back. That’s one of the reasons to get multiple pictures. A couple days ago, I had the opportunity to get some special occasion shots of one of our grandsons. I took 4 pictures, and glad I did – especially since one of them didn’t come out.
Storage capacity is especially important. Ever go to a wedding and see the photographer had 2 or 3 cameras he was using? Ever wonder why? It’s called “professional insurance” in that if one of the cameras should fail for whatever reason, he (or she) has a back-up. Also, he will probably have one for internal and one for external shots, both preset to fill the needs of what he needs at the time.
We were at a wedding once where the photographer had 2 people following her with large camera bags. I have no idea what was in the bags, but you can be sure, she had herself covered because those pictures will never be repeated. I’m not saying this is for everyone, but it does make a point, pre-planning to cover “Murphy’s law”. Do what you can.
Determine if you will be using the tri-pod or not. Make sure you have that gadget that screws on and anchors the camera to the pod. Sometimes the camera will require different settings. Those also have to be checked.
How about the filters for the camera lens. If you do use filters such as the “polarize lens”, make sure those are also clean and ready do use. You have to evaluate what you will be shooting, so make sure you are ready if you use filters.
If your camera needs protection (i.e., it’s raining) be sure to have the best possible protection for the camera you can get. Some cameras aren’t that expensive, but some are and in either case, you will need protection. If it’s an umbrella, be careful of the color. I took commercial shots a few years ago and used a red umbrella in bright sun once – every picture had a reddish tinge to it – almost lost the whole shoot.
Never EVER edit your pictures from the camera. Just don’t even try. Make sure every shot is on the computer. That larger screen will reveal a lot of detail that the camera screen will miss. I would occasionally check the camera to make sure your shots are good, and adjust if necessary, but never drop the pictures you have. Know your camera, but if there’s any doubt, take lots of shots – pick the best, dump the rest.
Oh yes – the pictures of Gretchen with a mouth full of goodies – she waited me out, sorry! (Besides, she never uses a napkin.)